Task force mission clarified by member

Posted: Tuesday, August 02, 2005

As an Agrium Task Force participant, I take exception to the comments expressed by Lois Epstein of the Cook Inlet Keeper (Clarion, July 28.) The task force was charged by the governor to determine what could be done to keep Agrium up and running after Nov. 1. Simply put, the employees of Agrium and the Kenai Peninsula need those jobs.

The task force was not asked to explore alternate sources of energy, renewable energy or the meaning of life. We were given narrowly defined parameters and the task force, the governor's staff, the producers in the Cook Inlet Basin, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, Agrium (company and employees) and the Legislature were able to find a way to keep the plant operational for at least another year.

The task force met about nine times in Kenai and six times in Juneau. Neither Miss Epstein nor Cook Inlet Keeper chose to participate in any of those, for whatever reason.

Judging by Miss Epstein's comments, it would seem that she heats her home with either Homer beach coal or beetle-killed spruce firewood and perhaps bikes to work. But most of the people on the peninsula (and Anchorage) heat their homes with either gas or electricity and drive gas or diesel vehicles.

The issue before the task force was jobs, not to explore renewable energy. Agrium will have gas at least until November 2006. The task force and the rest of the participants did a great job.

Rep. Kurt Olson, Soldotna

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